Exploring the Grandeur of Chitnavis Wada: A Peek into Nagpur’s Heritage

Exploring the Grandeur of Chitnavis Wada: A Peek into Nagpur’s Heritage

Exploring the Grandeur of Chitnavis Wada: A Peek into Nagpur’s Heritage

Continents like Asia and Europe, as well as other regions around the world, offer unique experiences for holistic living. If you're looking for a place to stay in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is worth considering. For a luxurious pilgrimage experience, the Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is a great choice. Experience the vibrant lifestyle of Lucknow by staying at Clarks Awadh. Explore the rich heritage of Nagpur by visiting Chitnavis Wada, a grand house in the Mahal area of Chitnavispura.

This particular Wada stands out among others for successfully maintaining the majestic and nostalgic atmosphere of the distinguished residences. Upon my arrival, I passed through an arched gate adorned with a wooden door. A sign outside displayed its name and location.

When I entered the gate at Chitnavis Wada in Nagpur, I noticed several buildings surrounding an open area. It was hard to determine whether I was already inside the Wada or still outside as the construction on the main door side had a distinct colonial era feel. The wooden blind panels on the buildings reminded me of similar structures found in Colonial Calcutta.

The tall trees, which are likely older than the nearby buildings, provide a dense canopy. I entered the office as directed, and found it filled with antiquated wooden furniture such as palanquins, wooden boxes, writing desks, and wooden bullock carts. It became apparent that this was the primary Wada building. The structures I had seen outside were additional sections that functioned as a guest house during the time of British rule.

I received assistance from a man who oversees the establishment and he kindly provided me with a brochure. He also requested the staff to open the Wada for my visit. I didn't have high expectations, anticipating only the presence of beautifully carved wooden pillars in the Wada. However, I was pleasantly surprised as soon as I entered the front courtyard and saw the intricately carved wooden pillars surrounding it.

Chitnavis Wada is a traditional mansion with three courtyards called Chowks, arranged in succession. This architectural design, reminiscent of the Havelis in Shekhawati, features a similar layout. The first Chowk, typically serving as a public space for receiving visitors or conducting business, functions as an outer courtyard and serves as the family head's office in this particular Wada.

Chitnavis was the title given to the highest-ranking documentation officer of a king. The Wada, or building, in question was constructed by Rakhmaji Ganesh Randive, who held the position of Chitnavis for the Bhosle kings of Nagpur. Randive arrived in Nagpur in 1744 CE, accompanying Raghuji – I Bhosle. Based on its stylistic features, it is estimated that this Wada is approximately 200 years old.

As I entered the initial courtyard of Chitnavis Wada's Deoghar Chowk, I found myself enclosed by vibrant paintings in every direction. The courtyard, which was once open, is now sheltered with wooden structures, while the surrounding corridor features a calming mud floor.

The walls were adorned with artwork illustrating the life of Krishna, who I later learned is the revered deity of the family. These paintings showcased various scenes from ancient epics like Mahabharata. Additionally, there were beautifully framed lithographs of Raja Ravi Varma's famous artworks.

Located in a specific area of the courtyard, there is a charming wooden temple that bears resemblance to the temples found in Rajasthan. This temple is dedicated to Krishna and is truly a sight to behold. When sitting in front of the temple, one feels completely enveloped by the presence of Krishna. The courtyard itself is aptly named Deoghar Chowk, meaning the deity's courtyard.

At the next chowk, known as Family or Fountain Chowk, there is a fountain located in the center. Surrounding the fountain is a corridor with mud flooring. We took a seat near the fountain, appreciating the simplicity and welcoming atmosphere of this part of the Wada. This area is designated for families to gather and enjoy meals together. I could envision the women of the family coming together here for casual conversations or to bask in the sunlight.

Kitchen Courtyard

We entered through another doorway and arrived at the final courtyard, which was likely frequented by the family's staff. This area used to house the kitchen. Notable features include a grinding stone and grooves for pounding ingredients. Additionally, there is a well and a Tulsi plant present. Colorful Palkis (traditional Indian palanquins) were scattered about the area.

One intriguing aspect is a small opening in the wall that connects to the granary. By simply opening the window, you can access the grains needed for cooking. This can also be referred to as a service area or the behind-the-scenes operations for maintaining the wada.

Located on the side of this square, there is a door that leads to the private temple of the family. It was common for large mansions, known as wadas, to have their own temple dedicated to their family deity. In this particular wada, the temple is dedicated to Murlidhar. The temple features a small inner sanctum and a towering spire in the style of Nagar architecture. Inside the temple, the mandapa is adorned with numerous wooden pillars, a common feature found in many temples in Nagpur. Additionally, there are smaller temples dedicated to Hanuman and Garuda on either side of the main temple.

When we finish appreciating the inside of Chitnavis Wada, we step outside and marvel at the intricate woodwork on the building. One distinctive feature is a hanging corner adorned with carvings of a peacock and a parrot, which is considered a signature of the skilled woodcarvers in this area. Additionally, there are decorative carvings resembling Banana flowers, similar to those found on the Peshwa wadas in Pune.

The higher levels of the building are linked to the external guest houses. The guest houses' colonial section might have served as a venue for entertaining or accommodating European guests. This specific area is attached to the main wada, but it is distinct, forming a divide between the family space and the guest space.

Across from the wada, there existed a garden designed in the Charbhag style, featuring walking paths that divided it into four sections. The garden has lost some of its original charm, but I did come across a fascinating old handpump that is still functional.

At the top of the Wada building, you have a vantage point to observe the inner courtyards and the Murlidhar temple. Furthermore, you can also enjoy a picturesque view of the city that surrounds it. I had the opportunity to be there during sunset, and the charming red tiled roofs enhanced the atmosphere.

Throughout the years, the current owners of the Wada have made efforts to update its amenities by including modern facilities such as bathrooms. Additionally, a section of the Wada is utilized as an office space for different organizations. The owners also make the property available for rent for occasions like weddings or small gatherings. As you explore the premises, you will notice traditional wooden planks being used to serve food.

Currently, the place is not accessible to the general public. To visit it, you will have to get in touch with the office of Sh Gangadhar Rao Chitnavis Trust. The heritage tour of the Wada is led by Architect Nitika Ramani, so it would be advisable to coordinate with her for the visit.

The amount of time required to see it varies based on how interested you are, but it typically takes around 1-2

In the lanes surrounding Chitnavis Wada, there are numerous Wadas and temples to explore by foot.

Other articles from the same author include "The Influence of the Ramayana in the region of Vidarbha" and "The Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneshwar, a masterpiece of Kalinga architecture." Additionally, another article explores Matheran, a charming hill station in the state of Maharashtra. There are two comments on this article expressing gratitude for the new information about Nagpur.

I consider your blog as a gateway to the world because it has allowed me to explore new places that I was not aware of before. Your captivating stories and breathtaking pictures have introduced me to destinations that I never even knew existed. Your talent for capturing the true essence of each place is truly exceptional. Please keep sharing your adventures as they continue to inspire and fuel my desire to travel!

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